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Review: Bushnell Tour X Jolt

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Pros: Stunningly simple to use despite its slew of premium features. Gear heads and tournament players will love Bushnell’s new Exchange Technology, which allows users to switch the rangefinder from a slope-and-distance device to a tournament-legal, distance-only device.

Cons: It’s fractionally larger and heavier than its competition, Leupold’s GX-4i2.

Who’s it for? If you don’t mind spending top dollar ($499) on a rangefinder, this is the one you buy. The Tour X is best for golfers who want a highly accurate, easy-to-use laser rangefinder and are interested in learning more about the way elevation changes affect their shots.

The Review

IMG_7311

The Tour X in Slope Mode.

  • Accuracy: 0.5 yards (0.1 yards from 5-100 yards)
  • Range: 5-1300 yards (450+ yards to a flag)
  • Magnification: 6x
  • Rainproof: Yes
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Battery Included: Yes (CR2)

Bushnell’s Tour X Jolt rangefinder is a testament to how far rangefinder design has advanced in recent years, offering golfers Bushnell’s best premium features while keeping operation as simple as possible.

The newest and most noteworthy of the Tour X’s features is its Exchange Technology, which uses removable face plates (one red, one black) to allow the rangefinder to function as a two-in-one product.

Install the red face plate, which covertly connects to a USB port on the front of the device, and the rangefinder can calculate straight-line distance to a target, as well as distance that calculates “slope,” or how far uphill or downhill a shot is “playing.” Please note that this mode does not conform to the rules of golf, but is used by many golfers — including top professionals — to learn more about the courses they play before they tee it up in tournaments.

IMG_7315

In case you need a reminder that Slope Mode doesn’t conform to the rules of golf…

If you’re a stickler for the rules, or happen to be playing in an event that allows rangefinders, simply install the black face plate to make the rangefinder conforming. Both face plates are easy to install, and lock in with a satisfying “click” that lets you know they’re secure.

From Bushnell's Tour X Jolt's product manual.

From Bushnell’s Tour X Jolt’s product manual.

For those technically inclined, below is Bushnell’s literature on how its slope mode works. Keep in mind that Bushnell has been making slope rangefinders for years, and that the Tour X is simply the first product from the company that allows users to switch between slope mode and distance-only mode.

[quote_box_center] The Slope +/-™ mode will automatically compute an angle compensated range based upon distance and slope angle determined by the laser rangefinder and built-in inclinometer. This data is then combined with internal algorithmic formulas dealing with average club use and ball trajectories. The angle compensated range provides direction on how to play the shot. [/quote_box_center]

IMG_7324

The red power button is the “trigger” that activates the unit’s laser to measure yards or meters.

You don’t need to understand the algorithm to know that slope mode will work for you, however. Just ask my playing partners, who started requesting not just the actual yardage on par-3 tee boxes, but the slope yardage as well. It didn’t matter how much elevation change there was on a particular hole, either. Even on the relatively flat courses that are typical in Southeastern Michigan, the Tour X provided slope readings that highlighted shots playing just a few yards yards uphill or downhill. That’s valuable information to have — especially if you’re in between clubs.

Some people might say that level of precision is overkill, but why wouldn’t you want the most accurate possible information if you could have it? For example, I learned that many of the shots at my home course that I thought were flat were actually slightly uphill or downhill, reaffirming member suspicions that certain holes always play a little longer or shorter than the yardage.

IMG_7312

Slide the Dual Display button to the left for a black display, and to the right for a red display.

One thing that’s important to mention about the Tour X’s slope mode is how the slope measurement appears onscreen, because it’s brilliantly executed. When you depress the power button — the trigger that activates the unit’s laser — and identify your target with the aiming circle on the unit’s display, you’ll get the straight-line yardage to your target. It’s not until you release the power button that you get the slope yardage, which is shown below the original number and alternates with the amount of slope (in degrees) that was used along with the yardage to calculate the slope distance.

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 2.25.44 PM

Image from Bushnell Golf

Another new feature is the Tour X’s Dual Display technology, which allows users to choose between a bright-red display and a less-jarring black display. I prefer the black display except in low-light conditions, which I found to be crisper and easier to read.

It should be noted that the Tour X’s red display is nowhere near as bright or as sharp as the Leupold’s GX-4i2, which is the other premium rangefinder that golfers should consider if they’re looking for a unit that measures slope and can still be configured for tournament use. If brightness is what you’re after, it’s the leader in the club house.

IMG_7319

The Tour X with its black face plate, which is legal for play in tournaments that allow rangefinders.

One of my favorite features of the rangefinder, which is a carry over from previous models, is its Jolt technology. For most golfers, it will be far more confidence inspiring than a slope reading, because it can mean the difference in 20 or 30 yards instead of 2 or 3. Jolt engages when a golfer locks onto a flag, and causes the rangefinder to buzz twice. That’s great reassurance that you’ve locked onto the correct target, and not a tree behind the green.

The Takeaway

If you’re not interested in a slope rangefinder, you don’t need the Tour X. There are more affordable options from Bushnell and its competitors that will offer a much better value. Top models include Bushnell’s Tour Z6 Jolt ($399), which is slightly smaller than Tour X, and bargain hunters will likely lean toward Bushnell’s Tour v3 ($299), which is Bushnell’s best-value rangefinder.

If you’re new to slope and interested in what it can do for your game, however, the Tour X’s Exchange Technology and premium features can justify its $499 price point. It will give you the most accurate yardages possible, along with the worthwhile features of Jolt and Dual Display without compromising ease of use.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Pingback: Bushnell Tour X Jolt Review | Medway Golf Blogger

  2. Dave S

    Aug 17, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Navy SEAL snipers use Leupold optics… think I’ll go with that, thanks.

    • Desmond

      Aug 18, 2015 at 3:15 am

      We’re looking for a flag … not a hidden enemy. Gheez.

      Ysed the Tour X for 3 months. Great. And it is not as large as it seems in the pictures. It is small, have a hard time finding it in the bag pocket where it hides.

  3. Nick

    Aug 15, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    I will say that when I was in college my coach had a laser that measures slope and that helped immensely in being confident in pulling the right club for the shot. It helps when you know the hole plays (+/-) 10 yards.

  4. John

    Aug 15, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Bushnell has some really nice optics, but for the price you can get much more. Their name carries their price. For a lot cheaper, you can get the same amount of utility.

    • Doc Todd

      Aug 17, 2015 at 6:05 am

      Such as? I have a Leupold, which was a little cheaper, but I waffled between these two.

    • Doc Todd

      Aug 17, 2015 at 6:09 am

      Zac,
      Can you compare this to the equivocal Leupold scope with slope function? I ended up going with the Leupold GX-4 due to slightly cheaper cost and the salesman at GS pushing me that way a little bit. I also noted battery life shorter on the Bushnell than the Leupold. Thanks!

      • Zak Kozuchowski

        May 13, 2016 at 10:00 am

        It’s close, Doc Todd. Usually it comes down to personal preference, or a user placing importance on one specific feature over another, as you did battery life.

        One thing to note is that Leupold’s slope feature is customizable based on a player’s specific club distances. Most will say that Bushnell wins the ease-of-use battle, though.

  5. Mark

    Aug 15, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    Yeah, but if you’re a good player, you know the necessity to know your distances and understand your gapping. Even poor golfers can eventually benefit from knowing yardage. And a good golfer in a practice round, assuming he’s not a PGA Tour professional who has already had a caddie walk out the yardages and use a rangefinder prior to the practice round, will use some method to figure out distances to hazards and key positions. I hope you don’t assume pros go out there blind.

  6. Scooter McGavin

    Aug 15, 2015 at 11:46 am

    I’ll be honest, I still don’t understand the point of having slope in a range finder. If you’re a good golfer and play in tournaments you’re going to want to always practice the way you’re going to play in tournaments… without slope. If you’re not a good golfer then 1)slope is just going to confuse you and 2)you have more important issues to focus on before you worry about slope. Seems like a waste of an extra hundred dollars or more to me.

    • Mark in L'ville, KY

      Aug 15, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      If you play competitively, you generally have the opportunity (like Pros) to play practice rounds. During those rounds, it’s extremely helpful to use the slope feature so that when you get into tournament play, assuming you’re hitting your shots within the same areas of your practice rounds, you will already know that you should play more or less club because of the slope factor. Even if you don’t play competitively, surely there are a few “practice” rounds where you could use it for future knowledge on several of the regular course you may play.

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Athalonz EnVe—The best golf shoes you’ve never heard of

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One of the coolest parts of being in this part of the golfing world is being able to shed light on smaller companies that typically get overshadowed by their bigger corporate brothers.

So, this post is about one of those products that is definitely competitive against top golf shoe companies, and it’s made by a company called Athalonz, which is based out west in Arizona. Typically known for its innovative baseball cleats and insole packages, Athlonz newest addition takes the patented design to the world of golf with the EnVe golf shoe.

These have started appearing on the world long drive circuit due to the amount of traction they get, allowing players to swing harder. So for the last few months, I have gotten to wear them and see if they are as good as the company claims.

Athalonz EnVe: Living up to claims

The main selling points of these shoes are focused on two things

  1. Design that delivers more power and stability
  2. Custom comfort that lasts all day

These are somewhat difficult to combine into one shoe, and though they are on the heavier side, Athlonz are completely worth it for the benefits. It is obvious that they made strides to hit each box on the list for a great shoe. The patented design has been adapted from their baseball cleat and introduces a spikeless golf shoe with a circular design that allows the player to gain traction through the golf swing. This gives a player the chance to swing harder and faster without losing their footing. They also offer insole packages that help with correct bodyweight placement to help add an extra layer of consistency.

Secondly, it’s very noticeable that there was plenty of thought given to comfort with a roomy toe and custom insoles to fit your style. Additionally, ankle padding helps to provide more stability and comfort.

On another note, they have a good sense of style with a more classic, casual take. In addition to the pictured white/brown color, there’s a black/grey colorway as well.

After multiple months of wear in all types of conditions, these shoes have performed great for me with all the traction I need and while feeling great throughout the round.

Verdict

I am a person who tends to support smaller companies when I can if they make good products. Any support for them goes a long way—especially in the golf business. Since these shoes will set you back about $150, I wanted to be sure they are worth it for the money and they absolutely are. Seriously, for anyone looking to boost their shoe game and help alleviate aching feet and ankles, give these a shot.

 

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Accessory Reviews

GolfWRX Spotlight: Nikon Coolshot 20 GII and 20i GII

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Every golfer should have an accurate, reliable, easy-to-use rangefinder. With the new Nikon Coolshot 20 GII and 20i GII, you get all of that and more in one of the smallest, lightest packages on the market.

Not only do you get a ton of features, but when you consider these devices start at only $199.99 for the 20 G II and then $229.99 for the 20i GII ( slope adjusted version ), you get one of the best values in a rangefinder from one of the most well-known consumer optics companies in the world.

Review: Nikon CoolShot 20 GII and 20i GII

First Target Priority and 8-Second Continuous Measurement: “First Target Priority” is Nikon’s way of making sure you are picking up the flag and not a tree behind your intended target. There is nothing worse than thinking you have your distance dialed in to then have a shot fly over the green. With how quickly it lets you know the ranger finder is locked, getting that distance and double-checking can happen remarkably fast.

In the eight-second continuous measurement setting, the rangefinder will continuously measure the field of view as you scan the target area for approximately eight seconds. This setting is great when playing unfamiliar courses or trying to figure out the exact spot to a dogleg, tree, or hazard on your intended line.

Bright, 6x Monocular: Nikon is known for its glass and multi-coating technology, from telephoto camera lenses to rifle scopes, if it’s Nikon glass, it’s going to be clear, fog-resistant, and high-contrast for easy viewing. From a viewing experience perspective, the Coolshot 20 GII’s 6x monocular has an adjustable diopter for sharp focusing, along with long eye relief—meaning you can keep your glasses (or sunglasses) on when acquiring your target.

Slope-Adjusting ID Technology: With the 20i GII you have the option to get the slope-adjusted distance for any shot thanks to Nikon’s ID Technology. The mode can be turned on and off by the user to comply with USGA rules to make it legal for tournament rounds. Having tested it out on hilly terrain it’s easy to see why so many golfers mis-club going into greens when elevation changes become a lot more dramatic.

Review

The Nikon Coolshot 20 GII’s size and weight make it ideal for anyone who regularly carries and wants the benefit of knowing distances but without having to worry about weight—it weighs about the same as a sleeve of balls.

The size allows you to hold the units stable. However, I could see for those new to the rangefinder space, it could take some time getting used to when first getting acquainted with it. The best bet for this is to take it to a range or just step outside with it on your next walk and get used to hitting targets before you take it to the course—plus it makes for a fun game to see how good you really are at estimating distances.

Overall, for the price and size, it is one of the best rangefinders on the market. Plus, with a five-year warranty, you can be assured of years of use with the Nikon CoolShot 20 GII rangefinders.

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Putting Perfecter

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Putting can be one of the most frustrating parts of the game, it mystifies scratch golfers as much as high handicaps and can make anybody tremble over a three-footers. It’s one of the biggest factors in scoring, especially for the club-level player, but it’s often one of the last things people actually work on. Let’s be honest, it’s a lot of fun to pound drivers on the range, am I right?

But if you are seriously looking for a simple tool to help get you into the proper address position, the Putting Perfecter is a great one to start with.

The beauty of the device is in its simplicity. Fitting under your arms and across your midsection, it “locks” the player into the proper position to create a pendulum putting stroke. After giving it a shot and hitting putts for just a few minutes, then going back to putting without it made me feel like I was much more connected.

Don’t think it’s just for putting though.

Funny story, when I first took it out to work on my putting, I used it for about 30 minutes and then moved onto my chipping. After a few trips around the putting green I tried chipping with the Putting Perfecter in the same position and “WOW” same connected feeling was produced—it was perfect for working on low-flying “runners.” I was excited to tell my friend about it, until I went home and realized they actually advertise it to help with that too. Guess I’m not as clever as I thought…

No matter how you use it, the Putting Perfecter is a simple and effective training tool that can be carried in a bag to be used before or after a round, takes NO time to set up (a big plus), and is light—so you don’t feel like its dragging you down if you actually keep it in your bag. Since it’s a putting tool, you can even use it indoors very easily. If you are someone that struggles with consistent address position on putts or disconnecting when chipping, I believe the Putting Perfecter is a great tool to try.

For more information check out the Putting Perfecter website.

 

 

 

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